Bob White, Jury Chair
Bob has been a dramaturg and director in the Canadian theatre for over 40 years, having played a significant role in the development of Canadian plays including the work of Paul Ledoux, George F. Walker, Brad Fraser, Eugene Stickland and Stephen Massicotte, among many others. In January of 2013, he was appointed Director of New Plays at the Stratford Festival after four seasons as a consulting director. At Stratford, Bob was dramaturg on Hannah Moscovitch’s Bunny, Olivier Kemeid’s The Aeneid, Kate Hennig’s The Last Wife, Michel Marc Bouchard’s Christina, The Girl King, John Murrell’s Taking Shakespeare and the Jillian Keiley productions of The Diary of Anne Frank and Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Bob was Artistic Director at Alberta Theatre Projects for nine years, where he headed the annual Enbridge playRites Festival of New Plays. He was Co-director at Banff Playwrights Colony (1997-2009), Artistic Director of Factory Theatre, Toronto, (1978-87) and Dramaturge, Playwrights Workshop Montreal (1975-78). Bob has also directed more than 75 productions and has received eight nominations and three wins for Outstanding Direction at Calgary’s Betty Mitchell Awards. Other awards include membership in the Order of Canada, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of Calgary, and The Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Philip Akin is the Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre Company in Toronto. As a director, actor and producer, Philip has been involved in the arts for over 40 years.
His recent directing credits include: Blyth Festival: Wilberforce Hotel by Sean Dixon (2015), Harold Green Jewish Theatre: Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry (2015), Ryerson Theatre School: Balm in Gilead by Lanford Wilson (2015), Shaw Festival: The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (2014), Obsidian Theatre with Factory Theatre: The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble by Beth Graham (2013), Obsidian Theatre with Harold Green Jewish Theatre: The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez (2013), Obsidian Theatre with Theatre Passe Muraille and 3D Atomic: Shakespeare’s Nigga by Joseph Jomo Pierre (2013).
His numerous awards and nominations include the William Melbourne Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life (2014), Life Membership Award from Canadian Actors Equity Association for outstanding contributions to the performing arts within our jurisdiction (2014),The Grid’s #2 2013 Theatre MVP,Merritt Award Nomination (Halifax) for Outstanding Direction (2012), Dora Nominations for Best Director in the General Theatre Division 2008, 2011 and 2012 (winning in 2012), The Toronto Sun Performing Artist of the Year (2011), Playwright’s Guild of Canada Women’s Caucus Bra d’Or Award for supporting and promoting the work of Canadian women playwrights (2011), Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award (2011), and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts Silver Ticket Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts (2010).
He is also proud to be the Chair of the Humber Theatre program’s Advisory Committee and the Vice Chair of the Board for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Gideon Arthurs is the CEO of the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS), the only institution in the country entirely devoted to providing professional training in all of the theatre crafts, in both official languages. NTS’s conservatory programs in Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Production and Set and Costume Design help young artists become leaders in the industry.
Before joining NTS, Gideon Arthurs served as General Manager of Tarragon Theatre in Toronto for close to three years, where he led several important projects including improvements of the theatre’s equipment and facilities, as well as a major audience engagement program. Before that, he was the Executive Director of the Toronto Fringe Festival during a period that saw the development of a second festival presented by the organization, significant growth of the flagship festival, and the creation of a subsidized rehearsal space for independent artists.
He is past President of the Small Theatre Administrative Facility (STAF), the former Vice-President of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and was a member of the Labour Relations Committee at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT). Previously, he served as President of the Paprika Festival, Treasurer of Public Recordings Performance, and Secretary of Pleiades Theatre. He is the founding Artistic Producer of the independent theatre company Groundwater Productions, and has worked extensively as a teacher and consultant in the field. Most importantly, he is the father of two amazing children and the husband of a genius playwright.
Inspired by the wish to create impressionistic theatrical experiences, Geneviève L. Blais founded the Théâtre à corps perdus in 2003, with a group of like-minded artists whom she met while at the National Theatre School of Canada. Through this company, she explores contemporary writing that evokes things for which we cannot find the words, things for which we have no words. Her approach leaves a central place for the writing of the body, in dialogue with the architecture of the space.
Drawn to work in significant urban sites, she is now engaged in a work-in-progress of short, site-specificplays, the first of which will be created in collaboration with the writer Naïma Phillips, and titled Rendezvous No. 1: daycare class. She has orchestrated happenings in unusual places, including an urban ambulatory piece inspired by first-hand accounts, entitled Perdu/Trouvé (Festival l’Écho d’un fleuve, 2009) and two short sight-specific pieces: Chevreuil by Catherine Léger(Festival L’Écho d’un fleuve, 2010) and Portrait of a Dreamed Life by Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf (Festival d’Innovationthéâtrale de l’Assomption, 2005).She is currently preparing the French-language premiere of Erin Shields’ disturbing contemporary tragedy, If We Were Birds, for the fall of 2015 at Théâtre Prospéro.
Last April, she was invited to Morocco to represent Québec in a kind of hothouse for artists, organised by la Commission internationale de théâtre de la francophone, which focused on writing for public spaces. There, she presented the sketch for a performance in the form of a walkabout through the streets of Marrakech, developed in collaboration with a trio of artists from Belgium, Cameroon and Canada.
Kim Collier is a director and the co-founder and co-director of the Electric Company Theatre in Vancouver. The company is recognized nationally as a driving force behind the resurgence of activity in Vancouver’s independent theatre scene. Under her direction, the company created a dozen original works through an intensive collaborative process including three landmark site-specific productions. Kim also has strong presence on major stages and festivals across Canada with productions at Theatre Calgary, Festival TransAmerique, the National Arts Centre, the Citadel Theatre and Canadian Stage. In 2011 her live-cinematic interpretation of No Exit was presented by the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.
More recently, Kim was Resident Artist at Canadian Stage and the inaugural director of their new MFA in Directing in collaboration with York University. Canadian Stage presented her creation with Electric Company: Tear the Curtain and Studies in Motion, which she directed. She also directed RED for Canadian Stage, Vancouver Playhouse and The Citadel Theatre. Recently she directed a new interpretation of Sweeney Todd for Vancouver Opera, Saint Joan (Arts Club Theatre), The Great Gatsby (Theatre Calgary), and Hamlet (Bard on the Beach). Kim was honoured to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters last June from Thompson Rivers University. Kim is the recipient of four Jessie Richardson awards and a Sterling Award for Direction. With Electric Company she has received seven outstanding production awards, three writing awards and numerous innovation awards. She is the recipient of the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award.